13th July 2016 at 2:06 am #35029
Hello Charles and folks!
Where I live in North Carolina the town offers free leaf much year-round and I have purchased a cubic yard (as much as a friend’s truck could carry) of county compost for $30. Do you think a few beds of this and leaf mulch on top would make a sufficient growing medium for my first season? My personal compost is rotting away atm hopefully for use next fall or late summer.13th July 2016 at 3:46 am #35032
Hello Even, that is a great offer of free leaves, and reasonably priced compost.
It depends how ‘finished’ the compost is, not hot and not too much wood visible in there. But it should serve for growing veg.
As for the leaves, here in the UK I would leave in a pile to rot for at least a year, before using as a mulch, otherwise leaves can harbour slugs and make it difficult to sow small seeds.
However you may be drier than us and if slugs are not a problem, you could for example spread leaves around established plants.16th July 2016 at 10:22 pm #35133
Thanks for the reply, Charles! The leaves are composted year-round by the city, not quite for an entire year, but at least stacked high enough to reach a central temp of around 120F (50C), so it may serve the same purpose. How would you use your own leaves, after piling them?17th July 2016 at 10:46 am #35134
Evan, that is good that they compost them, though even after one year I wonder how ‘finished’ the compost is. Nonetheless it should be good on the surface, say two inch layer, anywhere you are putting in plants rather than sowing direct.
I should love to have access to such a resource, but there are not many trees around here. There are wood chips from tree surgeons, which take longer to break down.
Do keep us informed about your progress.18th July 2016 at 11:19 am #35159
…… interestingly, here in Lincoln (UK), the City Council used to have its contractors deposit the autumn leaf sweepings in the parking area of our allotment site for gardeners to take away and use – but then (about three seasons ago), the DfEE issued advice that councils should desist the practice because of the potential for toxins (oils etc) in road sweepings. We’d hoped they’d continue to let us have the park sweepings – but no: sadly. Although the contractors continue to drop off huge piles of tree chippings … which never seem to last long!
My personal experience is that the chippings become woodlouse heaven ……. and those little beasties are always happy to exploit a wee bit of slug damage to a plant – which leaves me uncertain of the merit of the chippings as paths around beds.18th July 2016 at 3:46 pm #35164
I agree that wood chips want using with care, partly depending what you are growing. For example woodlice love spinach leaves and stems and can certainly rival slugs as a pest menace.
A shame about that decision on town leaves!.16th August 2016 at 3:47 pm #35555
The leaf compost turned out to be an even better product than I expected, although there were plenty of woody bits and leaf stems visible, which I was able to pick out somewhat.
I used this for the bottom layer, added a small amount of bagged manure compost, then the municipal compost on top. Hopefully I can get some fall sowings in! Still very warm here in NC.
16th August 2016 at 3:55 pm #35558
- This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Evan.
Here’s a look at the beds as I have them16th August 2016 at 5:40 pm #35560
Evan your beds look good.
Some weeds may grow through, I don’t know how vigorous the grass is in NC, so watch for that.
I would sow and plant into those beds as soon as you have seeds and plants, and according to what works in your climate.17th August 2016 at 7:48 am #35562
I have just taken over an allotment that has a large heap of pidgeon manure
it is 3/4 year old and well rotted, would it be safe to put on beds as a top layer
or better to mix it with other composts17th August 2016 at 12:56 pm #35563
That sounds a good resource, I wonder if it is pure pigeon droppings of mixed with some bedding, or anything else?
I would either use it as an addition and stimulator in other compost heaps, or spread it thinly around growing crops (leeks, brassicas) rather than using it as a mulch to spread in autumn. I think that some of its nutrients may still be water-soluble.17th August 2016 at 8:51 pm #35567
it has been mixed with the bedding – will take a couple inch,s of the beds and thin out what is left ,
Brian18th August 2016 at 1:40 am #35568
Thanks Charles! You’ve been a great inspiration and I hope to restore life to my good but mistreated soil!9th March 2017 at 6:25 pm #38444
Some progress after six months no dig! Broad beans and garlic coming along nicely awaiting a more reliable spring! A little bit of couch grass starting to poke thru again as well…9th March 2017 at 11:03 pm #38448
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